A series of alumni seminars were organised by the Worldwise Alumni Network and Dulwich Zhuhai University Counselling Department at the end of August. 

Ms Zoe Zhang, a Class of 2014 alumni from Dulwich International High School Suzhou (DHSZ), shared her experience with the DHZH community to inspire our students and parents on their journey with, and post, Dulwich International High School.


Originally from the Shandong Province, one of the Provinces in China that keep achieving excellent results in the annual national college entrance examination (Gaokao), Zoe was a smart student who worked extremely hard. Enrolling in DHSZ was a significant transition for her.

When joining DHSZ, she had already finished studying all the high school curriculum at public school. After two years of learning the A-Level courses, Zoe decided to have the United Kingdom and Canada as destinations for university study. She successfully managed to receive offers from all five universities she applied for, as well as scholarship from University of Toronto and McGill University.  

University of Oxford was her final decision, to pursue her dream in the field of Science and Engineering with Material Science as her major.

“The University pathway is similar as the process of finding your right lifetime partner. The Best-fit one matters most.”

Looking back on the university application process, Zoe mentioned that her subject major was the first thing she decided, based on her own interests. Then she took into account factors such as location and campus culture, and finally chose the universities she was more certain of enrollment, based on her academic performance.

"Although I chose University of Oxford as my final destination, I believe that school ranking should not be the primary, let alone the only, factor that students and parents consider when making decision for university application."

Zoe mentioned that she had a university friend who picked a major that she was not interested in, in order to have the best chance of being admitted to Oxford, which led to the friend not enjoying her university life that much later on.

"To me, making the decision for university and my subject major is similar as it is when finding a date or a partner. Apart from the universal and popular criteria we found in various external channels, what fits you best, is the best option for you. In my opinion, choosing the major and school culture you like, and the campus life you want to experience are more important than whether or not you go to a school that is ranked at the very top. "

Effective support from Dulwich schools around the world for the success in university application

Zoe was impressed by the support she received from her peers at DHSZ. "The senior students were very happy to share with me how they made their decisions on majors and 'dream schools', as well as their own experience of university application. I had 12 revisions of my personal statement, during which I received a lot of support from my teachers and an alumna who also graduated from DHSZ and studied engineering at Oxford. They helped me in content development and to proofread my English content. 

After I progressed to the interview round with Oxford, the Counselors at DHSZ and Dulwich College London both arranged mock interviews with me, fully preparing me for it."

During her two-day visit, Zoe shared her stories and experience in university study and career development with our students from Year 11 to Year 13, and also took part in a Parent Seminar with our parents. Some of the students also booked a one-on-one meeting with her, for further advice based on individual inquiries.

“Zoe’s sharing enhanced our knowledge about university life. I felt clearer about the connection between international high school and overseas universities, as well as how to foster our personal advantage and develop our professional skills in the future. Zoe provided a lot of advice and it’s really helpful for us to make decisions on which universities are the best-fit choice, from the perspectives of individual interests and career development. I look forward to participating in more lectures introducing different universities in the future.” 

- Juliana Y. from Year 13

“I learned about the importance of subject selection for my future major study and the application conditions of universities in different countries and regions. The interesting activities in her campus life also attracted me a lot. I think the alumni seminar is very useful for our Y12 students, because we're about to make these decisions for ourselves soon.”

- Cecilia Z. from Year 12


Here are some suggestions she would like to share with Dulwich Zhuhai students:

  • Take the advantage of all resources and opportunities the school offers during your three to four years with Dulwich Zhuhai, besides focusing on subject learning. For instance, actively participate in different CCA and work experience activities, apply for leadership roles in the student community.

  • Join the Worldwise Alumni Network, communicate with alumni from different schools, learn from their personal experience and be inspired by their study, career and life

  • Be bold and try out the things that you are interested in. The earlier you take the steps and learn from them, the fewer mistakes you would take in the future.


“I am happy to sit in Zoe’s sharing. Thank you, Zoe. The most important learning I have from the Seminar is that both parents and students should not focus only on the rankings, but what the children themselves are really interested in. As parents, we will closely follow his application process and fully respect and support his decision. The individual experience of an alumna can easily resonate with the students and parents. We really enjoyed the seminar.”

- Father of Kevin X from Year 13

“University application is still a few years away from us, as my child is in Year 11. However, I have already learnt a lot from Zoe’s stories, including a general idea of enrollment criteria from various universities in different countries and regions, the importance of co-curricular activities and how the interviewers evaluate the students. I am now more confident to work with my child in the future, preparing together for his university application. I appreciate the arrangement of the seminar, which offered the opportunity for us as parents, to learn, participate and plan in an early stage.” 

- Mother of David H from Year 11

At Dulwich Zhuhai and all Dulwich and Dehong schools, we believe that every student is different with their unique talent to shine. We are committed to supporting our students for success in their best-fit pathway in university study, career development and beyond. And the success of our graduate students and alumni around the world has always been the proven record and inspired stories to tell.

Ms Jolan Zhou
Many thanks for Zoe’s time spent with our community. Her pathway throughout High School, University and to Career is a valuable reference and inspiration for our students, to learn and think for themselves. The Worldwise Alumni Network plays a significant and beneficial role amongst all the support the Group provided, building up a stronger global community for both current students and alumni.
- Ms Jolan Zhou, Head of UCC

We look forward to more great events delivered by the WAN.